Easton 1998 Zinfandel “Estate” (Shenandoah Valley) – 15.1%. I drank through a fair quantity of this in lingering disappointment, as it never seemed to budge from its youthful expression of fulsome, arboreal fruitiness no matter how many years passed. Well, I think I’ve found the magic number, or at least this particular bottle has. Well into a developed stage of autumnal arbor, with meat and herb waving from the horizon. It’s still fruity, but the wild black juiciness is tempered by an encrustation of black pepper. And frankly, the alcohol is virtually unnoticeable; so much so that based on organoleptic evidence alone, I’d have guessed something much lower (looking at the wine’s adhesiveness to a glass tells a different story, but that’s cheating). This is a lot more interesting now than it was. (5/11)

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